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December 6, 2010

NIOSH Seeks Comment on Draft CIB Concerning Occupational Exposure to Carbon Nanotubes and Nanofibers

Lynn L. Bergeson

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a draft Current Intelligence Bulletin (CIB) entitled Occupational Exposure to Carbon Nanotubes and Nanofibers, which recommends that, until results from research studies can fully elucidate the physicochemical properties of carbon nanotubes (CNT) and carbon nanofibers (CNF) that define their inhalation toxicity, employers should take steps to minimize CNT and CNF exposures of all workers and implement an occupational health surveillance program that includes elements of hazard and medical surveillance.  The draft CIB includes more specific recommendations for employers and workers to minimize potential health risks associated with exposure to CNTs and CNFs. NIOSH will hold a public meeting on the draft CIB on February 3, 2011, in Cincinnati, Ohio. According to NIOSH, during the meeting, it will place special emphasis on:

  • Whether the hazard identification, risk estimation, and discussion of health effects for CNTs and CNFs are a reasonable reflection of the current understanding of the evidence in the scientific literature;
  • Workplaces and occupations where exposure to CNTs and CNFs occur;
  • Current strategies for controlling occupational exposure to CNTs and CNFs (e.g., engineering controls, work practices, personal protective equipment);
  • Current exposure measurement methods and challenges in measuring workplace exposures to CNTs and CNFs; and
  • Areas for future collaborative efforts (e.g., research, communication, development of exposure measurement and control strategies).

Notification of intent to intend the meeting is due to NIOSH on January 28, 2011. Comments on the draft CIB are due February 18, 2011.